We’re through the fun and exciting part of the off-season and have now reached the dog days.
Most of the major free agents, like Taylor Hall, Alex Pietrangelo, Jacob Markstrom, and Robin Lehner, have been signed, and we’re left with a handful of names who have fallen through the cracks.
The leftover group consists of guys who have lost out on a big long term deal due to the COVID market (Mike Hoffman), players with question marks surrounding injury issues (Erik Haula, Travis Hamonic), players with upside who are coming off forgettable seasons (Mikael Granlund, Sami Vatanen), and older veterans who may or may not have anything left in the tank (Corey Perry, Ilya Kovalchuk, Zdeno Chara).
It appears as though Ken Holland’s work is mostly done for the off-season but there might be a chance to grab a quality player who slipped through the cracks. One name that stands out for me is Zdeno Chara.
On Thursday, Pierre LeBrun appeared on TSN’s Insider Trading and mentioned that the Bruins’ captain is looking at all of his options in free agency. LeBrun did state that the Bruins are the frontrunners to re-sign the future Hall of Famer but there’s no guarantee that a deal will get done.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday FRIDAY EDITION question. If you’re Ken Holland, would you have any interest in bringing in Zdeno Chara to help replace Oscar Klefbom on the Oilers’ blueline?
As of right now, it looks like Klefbom will miss the entirety of the 2020-21 season. The Oilers have inked Tyson Barrie to help fill the void, mostly as the team’s quarterback on the top power-play unit, but Klefbom’s absence obviously leaves a massive hole in the lineup at even strength.
Chara certainly isn’t the Norris Trophy-calibre defenceman he used to be but he’s still a quality, minute-eating defender at the NHL level. Last season, Chara logged 21 minutes a night for the Bruins and the team outscored opponents 57-to-35 at even-strength. His offence is way down as he produced just 14 points in 62 games but Chara is still a beast in the defensive zone.
Looking up and down the list of remaining free agents, I can’t see any other left-handed defender who would be able to make as big of an impact on Edmonton’s blueline as Chara would. And, given his age, Chara would likely come on a one-year deal, which is ideal.
The Oilers are pressed close to the salary cap ceiling and Ethan Bear still needs to be signed but the team can go over the upper limit due to Klefbom’s injury. In order to use off-season Long-Term Injured Reserve, the team must provide doctors proof that Klefbom will continue to be injured at the beginning of the regular season for 10 NHL games and 24 calendar days.
What say you, Nation? Should Holland have any interest in signing Chara? Or is he better off looking at one of the other free agents still left on the board?
HANDCRAFTED KEYCHAINS AND JEWELLERY